Standard Chartered has created a new business unit, SC Ventures, to invest in promising fintech startups and accelerate innovation initiatives across the group.
The bank, which has previously invested in distributed ledger outfit Ripple and enterprise information management company Paxata, says the new vehicle will manage its expanding portfolio of holdings and seek out new investment opportunities from across the startup community. The cash element will be be pulled from the three-year $3 billion spend allocated by the bank to investment in new technology in 2015.
A new venture unit will also be established to sponsor and oversee disruptive technologies that are wholly or partially owned by Standard Chartered and to manage participation in collaborative joint ventures.
The bank additionally intends to seek outside help from international consultancies in inculcating a group-wide startup mentality with a particular emphasis on agile client-centric design principles. The effort will be directed from within Standard Chartered's eXcellerator Innovation Lab, established two years ago in Singapore.
SC Ventures will be led by Alex Manson, most recently global head of transaction banking, with a reporting line into the bank's group CIO Michael Gorriz.
Part of Manson's previous brief included responsibility for the SC Innovate platform for employee-driven innovations and numerous proofs of concepts in collaboration with fintech companies, in areas such as DLT, data analytics and mobile platforms.
He says: “In a world otherwise full of technical solutions looking for problems, at Standard Chartered we start with our clients. This is a great opportunity for us to facilitate and catalyse our culture of innovation, working with our clients and colleagues to invent the banking of tomorrow.”